BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Karla Maraccini currently serves ten states in the mountain-plains region for the USDA Food and Nutrition Services in the Supplemental Nutrition Aassistance Program (SNAP) in order to assist states in providing robust education, training, and support to SNAP households in gaining skills, training, work or experience that increase their ability to obtain regular employment at livable wages. Prior to this Karla served the State of Colorado as the Director of Community Partnerships at the Office of Governor Hickenlooper assisting the administration with coordination, fundraising, and management of more than 14 projects/initiatives. Karla has extensive knowledge of human services systems and has worked with individuals and families impacted by abuse, neglect, substance abuse, poverty, housing and food insecurity, and mental health issues in several capacities. She is an active community volunteer and has called Colorado “home” for 25 years. She has been rescued by several shelter dogs who are her pride and joy.
Alia Al-Tayyib is an Assistant Research Scientist at Denver Public Health and Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health. Dr. Al-Tayyib’s primary research interests focus on behavioral risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV, STIs, and viral hepatitis, specifically the social and structural determinants of risk. She oversees all aspects of the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance project in Denver in addition to hepatitis C testing and linkage activities in the Denver Metro Health Clinic. Dr. Al-Tayyib recently received a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study factors that accelerate or inhibit transition from oral ingestion of prescription opioids to injection drug use among at-risk youth. She received her PhD and MSPH degrees in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a Clinical Faculty Scholar at the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.
Layla DeStaffany is a native of Simpsonville, SC, who moved to Colorado to attend college at the United States Air Force Academy. Upon graduation, she served for over 9 years as an Air Force pilot. After spending over 3 years as a pilot at United Airlines, Layla was furloughed and decided it was time to consider a career change, which led her to law enforcement. She was hired by the Denver Police Department in 2004 where she worked in patrol until becoming a founding member of the Homeless Outreach Team in 2007. During her time in Homeless Outreach, Layla became involved with the folks that HRAC serves as well as the staff. The shared commitment to better public safety for all is one of the bonds that makes the police and HRAC good partners. Sergeant DeStaffany is currently the supervisor of the Neighborhood Impact Team for downtown Denver.
Colorado native Helen Espinosa-Alvillar has been employed at Rocky Mountain PBS since December, 1986 in their Finance and Administration department doing several jobs, currently Accounting & Benefit’s Administrator.
She is mother to Leo John Espinosa whom she lost to an accidental overdose of heroin on on May 6 2008. Since Leo’s death she has partnered with the Harm Reduction Action center lobbying for legislation to support both SB12-020 911 Good Samaritan and SB13-014 Colorado Third Party Naloxone bills. She is also a member of the (TCF) The Compassionate Friends a non-profit organization for bereaved parents. She also acts as Co-Chair to TCF Outreach alone with 2 other bereaved mothers.
Dr. Joshua Blum is a Medical Advisor and Program Manager at Denver Health’s HIV Primary Care Clinic. With a Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and an M.D from University of Southern California, he has cared for injection drug users throughout his career, starting as early as his second year of medical school, working at the Hollywood Free clinic and attending his first addiction medicine conference that same year.
As a provider of primary care to HIV+ individuals, mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds, he works on a daily basis with injection drug users and the homeless. Additionally, he provides HIV and general primary care to patients in the Denver City and County jails. As a general internist caring for these high-risk populations, he has longstanding interests in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain syndromes, opioid management, and substance abuse, and has led quality initiatives on pain and opioid management at Denver Health. Blum also served on the Denver HIV Resources Planning Council, previously chaired the Colorado HIV/AIDS Prevention Program grant committee, and is now serving on the Medical Advisory Committee for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Blum is a Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado – School of Medicine and continues to lecture locally and regionally on pain management, opioids, and substance abuse.
Matt Slaby is a co-founder of Luceo, a creative visual agency specializing in photography, cinema, and production for clients ranging in scope from NYC Health to National Geographic. He believes that the best advocacy for positive social change is rooted in real, honest stories. Slaby began his visual career working as an editorial photographer for the nation’s leading magazines. Slaby worked in emergency services as a Hotshot firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service and as an EMT with a metropolitan ambulance service. Slaby is also an attorney with a J.D. from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
Kate Harris is a recent transplant to Denver from Seattle, WA. Kate has spent her career working in public health programs and policy, most recently on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in Washington State and Colorado. Currently, Kate is the Policy and Research Director at Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance marketplace. In this role she leads the organization’s public policy development and legislative engagement, working to increase health insurance access, affordability, and choice for Coloradans. Kate holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance with a graduate certificate in HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections from the University of Washington’s School of Public Health.
Reut Tenne began volunteering at The Harm Reduction Action Center after losing a close friend to an overdose. Through her volunteer work, she witnessed how HRAC truly embodies the principles of public health, and became a passionate harm reduction advocate. Reut holds a BS in Public Health from the George Washington University, an MPH in Epidemiology from the Colorado School of Public Health and a DVM from Colorado State University. Reut has experience working in both nonprofit and governmental public health agencies and she currently works as a small animal veterinarian. Reut is excited and honored to be serving on the HRAC Board of Directors and is motivated to serve injection drug users, and the larger Denver community.
Alicia Haywood is a Legislative and Regulatory Analyst for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. There, she works to protect and improve the health of Colorado’s people and the quality of its environment through policy analysis and implementation. It was through her work at the department that Alicia first met some of the Harm Reduction Action Center staff and really fell in love with their work.
Alicia has more than a decade of experience in government affairs and in advocating to improve the lives of Coloradans. She is skilled in policy research and analysis, tracking legislation and regulation, building programs and coalitions, and developing and advocating for evidence-based policies. She was a 2014 National Rural Health Fellow and participated in the 2013 Office of Rural Health Policy Fellowship Program.
Alicia has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Colorado-Denver. When she isn’t in policy wonk mode, Alicia enjoys urban biking, amateur crafting and playing with her dog, Ramona Quimby.
Kayvan Khalatbari is a tenured entrepreneur with several businesses in Denver and across the country. Recently Kayvan sold Denver Relief, which was at the time the oldest continuously operating cannabis business in Colorado, to Willie Nelson. Kayvan also cofounded and directs Denver Relief Consulting, Sexy Pizza, Sexpot Comedy and Birdy magazine in Denver, as well as Cresco Labs, the largest cannabis cultivator in Illinois and soon to be operational in Puerto Rico, and Silver Sage Wellness, a cannabis cultivator and dispensary in Las Vegas. Kayvan sits on numerous boards and is considered a progressive leader with regard to finding collaborations between business, art, civic involvement, drug policy reform and community integration. Kayvan has also been a mentor of three at-risk youth within the Denver Kids program for more than eight years, and was the Lead Proponent of Initiative 300, which passed in 2016 making Denver the first city in the world to legalize the social consumption of cannabis.